Birmingham Poetry lovers: The Verve Poetry Festival is coming

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When: 15th - 18th February 2018

Where: Waterstones bookshop, 24-26 High Street, Birmingham, B4 7SL


Are you a poet? Did you just cringe thinking of yourself as one? If not, do you like poetry and have a couple of spare hours to fill over Reading Week? Then Verve Poetry Festival is the place for you to go!

The four-day long festival will comprise creative workshops and poetry readings. A lot of the more exclusive poet-led workshops have been filled up already, but never fear; there are many great opportunities still going on! For starters, there's the Dead or Alive Slam on the 16th from 20:30 - 22:30 and is only £6 (£4 with concessions). Slams are always a fun event to go to, and this one has a great spin on it - three prominent poets will be challenging some of the great old (dead) poets, and a panel from the audience will be the judges of the three rounds. This is a great way to pass an evening and is sure to be a laugh.

There are also plenty of book launches to go to such as that of Jane Commane's Assembly Lines. She'll be hosting The Poetry Assembly from 16:00 - 17:30 on Saturday in celebration of her launch, with readings from poets who are also releasing collections. Alongside Commane, there'll be a bunch of other great midlands-based poets such as Roz Goddard, Liz Berry, Romalyn Ante, and Matt Black. And if that's not enough, there are seven more poets (including Sabrina Mahfouz, Fran Lock, and Raymond Antrobus) launching that night from 20:00 - 22:00 - what more could you ask for than a day of wine and poetry?

Sunday is equally buzzing - if you want to start bright and early at 9:30 watch the Brum Stanza Showcase group performing some more laid-back poetry for free. And after that, there's Mad & Glow with Jacqueline Saphra and Tania Hershman from 11:00 - 12:00. This sounds like a treat as they share 'brazen stories in poem and prose [...] from a world that contains mad mothers and glowing jellyfish, kisses and war, salt, light and a few waterlilies'.

If you still aren't satisfied, there's a show for you in store from 12:30 - 14:30 blending poetry, performance and theatre with Salena Godden, Matt Abbott, Maria Ferguson, and Jamie Thrasivoulou (who also still have a space in their workshop later in the day). To cap off the final day, there's plenty of poetry readings in the evening from 18:00 - 19:30 with Liz Berry, Nick Makoha and Nuar Alsadir - some of the most exciting poets to listen to right now. And right after that? Our Local Legends Luke Kennard, Bohdan Piasecki, Gabriella KA Gay and Giovanni 'Spoz' Esposito are performing, plus there are open mic slots available for anyone wanting to give it a go.

There are a couple of other great events I didn't have a chance to mention here, so head here for more information to make sure you don't miss out!

Photo: The Verve Poetry Festival 2017


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